One of the most vibrant celebrations that Meghalaya has to offer, the Behdeinkhlam festival of the Jaintia community is soon to be held- as it is anually- in the month of July. The name 'Behdeinkhlam' literally translates to 'driving away evil using sticks'. The festival is a three-day event and consists of numerous elaborate rituals. Celebrated after the sowing season in the Jowai district, the festival is deep-rooted in religious and customary beliefs. In an attempt to promote and enhance tourism in the North-Eastern region, the central government has been funding this festival in the recent years.
The pre-ceremonious events start a week prior to the function, when a pig is sacrificed to the Knia Pyrthat (Thunder), believing it ward off the demons. The opening ceremony is then held by the chief of the tribe, also known as Daloi. During the main event, the youth of every locality construct an ornamental towered structure called a 'rath'. The bamboo rath is then hauled by 30-40 people to be immersed in a lake at Aitnar.
Another unique fete is the custom of building Khnongs. Tree trunks are axed, polished and then left in the woods for a couple of days. Eventually, these Khnongs are brought into town amongst the sound of beating drums and pipes. Upon entering town, these trunks are then adorned and erected.
Assembly Point: Khanapara, near hotel Taj Vivanta Guwahati.